Given his usage, during Rob Gronkowski’s absence, it’s clear that Howard’s time has come to an end in Tampa. He will likely not be with the Buccaneers next year and the team needs to now move him to get something in return before he walks in free agency for nothing.
State Of Affairs
So far, for 2021 Howard has seen the field for 35.7% of offensive snaps (only 15% prior to Gronkowski’s injury). The result has been six targets, four receptions. With all four receptions going for first downs. Hardly the production you would like to see out of a first-round selection. Especially one in the last year of his first contract.
Some will argue Howard is buried behind Gronkowski on the depth chart, making his usage diminished. But what some fail to realize is he is buried behind Cameron Brate as well. Brate has received more targets, 13, and snap share at 42.5%. Howard, currently, is a third-string tight end.
For Howard to have value to the buccaneers he needs to see the field more. He still has a great skill set that can be utilized to create mismatches and improve an offense. But for this staff, it doesn’t seem to be in the game plan.
So, if his value is not on the filed the only place left for it is on the trading block. There are teams who are in need of a tight end right now. In some cases, Howard would step in and immediately be tight end number one. After all, it’s trending like he will not remain a Buccaneer after this season.
The Chicago Bears find themselves in a unique position. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields is starting and could use some weapons. Howard could come in and supplant Jimmy Graham immediately. Howard’s traits would pair well with Cole Kmet.
The Giants seem to be unsure about Evan Engram. If they are able to ship him off it may allow them to trade for Howard. Or maybe they would be willing to make the trade just for the additional option while shopping Engram.
The struggling Seattle Seahawks could use some help at tight end. Will Dissly has fallen off since his 2019 campaign where he looked stellar in only six games. Also, Gerald Everett has been injured. There, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron has proven he knows how to use his tight ends.
The Patriots are another team that a trade could be made with. Though they have $50 million dollar Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, the duo is not looking poised to be a stellar duo. If anyone can make Howard work out it’s Bill Belichick.
Lastly, the Vikings have a tight end group that is just subpar. In fact, they really only have one tight end. Tyler Conklin. The Buccaneers have something they need in Howard and they have something the Buccaneers need in Cameron Dantzler.
It’s simple. Howard doesn’t hold much value to this team. He could elsewhere and it could net the Buccaneers a late-round pick or help in the secondary.